Archive for the ‘DINING REVIEW’ Category

Toast Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–Review   Leave a comment

Toast Restaurant Feb 15 2018 collage

In spite of what some people may think I really dislike writing negative reviews of restaurants but I worked in the field 38 years and have eaten out since I was a kid plus having seen, literally, thousands of restaurants go out of business it is not an easy business to succeed in though many think it is.
I worked in this plaza on the diagonal corner in a small Italian restaurant over 20 years ago and no longer exists which was then followed by a very popular restaurant that featured a chef who was on a TV cooking contest and then closed. In the current location where the Toast restaurant opened was another restaurant though I never went there.
So many people refer to Toast as a diner but it is as much as a diner as Peter Pan is which isn’t my definition of one.
In any case, I only have two positive things to say about my first experience at Toast and that consists of all the ladies working there do their best, and succeed, working as a team and making the customers feel welcome. (There was a man ‘working’ there and I wasn’t sure if the owner or a manager but didn’t do anything and when I tried to catch his eye to correct something he never looked or acknowledged me.) The second positive thing was the open atmosphere with the restaurant having many large windows making the room bright and inviting.
Okay, let’s get to the food. Allen and I split a housemade Spanakopita (family spinach pie recipe baked in a flaky phyllo dough $5.95) which, and I agree this is a pretty out complaint, was too flaky ‘flying’ all over the place including table, clothes, and seats. Allen had the ham and cheese club ($11.95), which he complained, with a smile, was too big but he ate it all.
I ordered a Cheddar Cheeseburger ($9.95) but it came without the cheese and was more medium than medium rare as I ordered. (This was when I tried to catch the owner/manager’s (?) eye but without success.) When the waitress came over she immediately corrected the mistake. The burger tasted like it had been under the heat lamp for too long a time. The sweet potato fries were definitely overcooked as were the 5-6 regular French fries that must have been in the fryer that wasn’t cleaned out when the sweet potatoes were put in it.
Allen had a diet cola ($2.45) and I had coffee ($2.45) and the server made sure his glass and my cup were always full which in itself was an accomplishment because the coffee was served in the smallest cup I have ever seen in a restaurant except for a demitasse or cappuccino.
I never did get her name as she wasn’t wearing a name tag and there wasn’t any name on the check receipt (except ‘Server #: 1’). Though normally I would have asked her name I failed to.
By the way let’s not even get into the old cash register type they were using.
As we were leaving the new sign for the restaurant was being put up. I hope it is not a waste of time and money.

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Giardino Gourmet Salads –restaurant review   Leave a comment

Giardino Feb 8 2018 collage

I made 2 mistakes with the first walking in and after seeing it was a fast-casual restaurant I stayed. I much prefer a complete full-service restaurant but we were here so we stayed. The second mistake was staying after reading the menu. It is a very big menu with many choices plus even gets worse if you decide on the ‘My Way’ section, where there are 5 steps to making a salad, a wrap or a grain bowl.

Add to this you have to stand and read the board while people before and after you are doing the same thing.

I took the easy–the coward’s?–way out and turned towards the guy behind the counter and told him to make whatever he wanted for me that I liked everything and he couldn’t make a mistake. (By the way, I have done this in 5-star restaurants and have gotten some 5-star, not necessarily the most expensive, meals.)

I wound up getting the 6 sliders for $13 consisting of 2 seafood, 1 salmon, 1 creamed tuna and 2 chicken,  all made on a non-descript potato roll, as were the fillings, except for the greens added to them. Allen had the tuna wrap $7.75 which he enjoyed. We both had a can of diet coke $1.50 each.

The best part of the whole experience was Emile who seemed to really enjoy his job dealing with the public and, in many ways, going all out to make the customer happy.

From what I have seen those who ordered the salads seem to be the most satisfied and all the food looked fresh.

This Giardino Gourmet Salads restaurant seems to be the latest in the franchise and the place itself looks clean, bright and has that ‘new’ feeling.

I wish them luck but I do suggest you get familiar with their menu at gardinosalads.com before you go to eat there and, definitely, go on a day Emile is working before he, deservingly, gets a store of his own!

Posted February 12, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, FOOD, Uncategorized

Ki’Na–restaurant review–Fort Lauderdale   Leave a comment

Ki Na restaurant Jan 25 2018

Thanks to nextdoor.com posts I kept on hearing about this restaurant which had taken over the building from a short-lived enterprise of a not so good restaurant. The new owners also run the Temple Eatery next door. On the top of their menus (both a lunch and dinner menu) is the following:

“Inspired by the memories growing up, Ki’Na, meaning “little kids” in Taiwanese, pays homage to the traditional Chinese cuisine. Our style of cooking startsfrom the freshest ingredients. We source non-gmo, hormone & antibiotic-free products as locally as possible. Currently, we proudly carry products from Harpke Farms, Sunfresh Farm, Springer Chicken Farm, Bio Farm Organics, Swank Specialty Produce, Cascade Organic, & Foods in Season.”

Daryl (called Darling on the receipt) the server was fast and efficient, answered what questions we had and made a few suggestions. We came in at 1:30 and there was one other couple but they soon left and the place remained empty though some did come in to look at the menu or read the one on the outside and left. It could be the prices seemed a bit high for lunch.

 

I had Spicy Sesame Noodle soup made with: ground chicken, soft egg, greens, wood ear mushrooms, scallions, chili oil with cucumber salad $14

Allen had Chicken meatballs: 2 meatballs, soft egg, braised Daiken, daily Asian green, soy glaze with cucumber salad $14 and Chocolate chili ice cream $5 of which I had a bite and just shrugged off.

Allen enjoyed his dish and I certainly liked the big bowl of soup filled up with tasty items but we both felt the cucumber salad consisting of 3 very small spears, along with the ice cream, was a major disappointment.

Also I appreciated the bottle of water, served in steel cups, with the bottle left on the table.

With tip and tax the check came to $40, about par for lunch in a full-service restaurant.

The service was good, the pleasant surroundings added to the enjoyment of the meal and the food tasted fresh and for a first time visit I would recommend it but, anddont ask me to explain why because I can’t, we probably won’t go back! 

Posted January 28, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, RESTAURANT REVIEWS, Uncategorized

Outback Restaurant review   Leave a comment

Outback collage

Allen and I decided to go to the Outback for lunch. We both ordered the ‘Big Aussie Bloom’ (which I would call ‘death by fats and carbs’!) To quote their menu ‘Bloomin’ onion with cheese fries and topped with Aussie Cheese Fries and topped with cut sirloin.’
I could feel the fat coming on with each bite. My fault for ordering it but all I can say is DON’T!
Probably THE WORST dish I have ever had in a restaurant!
The dish is $12.99 and our soft drinks were $2.99 each so with tax and a good tip the check came to $43.88 .
The saving factor of the meal was our server Jason. Not only did he give excellent service but he also had a good sense of humor and knows how to interact with customers no matter what they said to him.
Outback was never my place to go for a gourmet meal but they had edible food (most times), good employees and they have delicious dark bread.

Posted January 22, 2018 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, Uncategorized

Moonlite Diner Fort Lauderdale restaurant review   Leave a comment

 

There are plenty of diners in Broward County including the Moonlite, Lesters, Peter Pan and Flashback. Put a blindfold on and be taken to either and you wouldn’t be able to tell which is which because most of the food is the same. and there is nothing wrong with that as they all serve good tasting food, good portions and are in the mid-price range.

Take off the blindfold and you see the difference. The Flashback Diner has small TVs with remotes on all tables, Lester’s has remodeled their original place with an additional dining room (outdoors) to the two inside while no way does Peter Pan resemble a diner. Of the 4 mentioned the Moonlite Diner has the look of diners all over the country though it may be a little bit shinier.

I had the turkey wrap ($9.89) and next time would probably just have a regular turkey sandwich. I ordered hash browns done on both sides and they came just as ordered. I had coffee ($2.59) which was good and a scoop of vanilla ice cream ($2.99) while Allen had the Rueban (($10.49) and a chocolate milkshake (($3.99).

With tax and tip the check came to $39.27 We left a little more than a 20% tip because  Christin, our server, was excellent at her job giving us all and not more than the attention we needed, subtly suggested add-ons to the check and being prompt with refills on the coffee.

Besides the food, at all 3 diners, I have found that, as a rule, they usually have the most efficient servers and Moonlite was no exception with Christin.Moonlight Diner Dec 8 2017 Collage

Padrino’s Cuban Restaurant–Fort Lauderdale–review   Leave a comment

Padrinos Jan 4 2018 Collage

This is a modern, elegant looking restaurant from the moment you enter with the hostess on the left greeting you and the bar on the right inviting you, by its look, to stop and have a drink.
I have eaten at a few of the other Padrino’s restaurants and was excited to see it opening in Fort Lauderdale 8 blocks from where I live. I went for lunch their first week and it was just what I expected with a good sandwich, good service and the brother and sister, who are running it, interacting with the customers.
I waited a few months but finally, they started their lunch Monday through Friday buffet and I was there today. It is a good selection of cold and hot vegetables, plantains, pork, fish and beef dishes, yellow and white rice, black beans, a thick chicken noodle soup, fresh fruit, all for $13. Drinks and/or dessert are extra. (Unfortunately, there were no tags identifying what was what and there were 2 items I didn’t recognize but I ate them anyway! Meant to ask the very helpful staff members walking by but got too interested in sitting down and eating!)
The buffet is for a first timer eating Cuban food or the Cuban who wants a taste of home.
They also have their regular lunch and/or dinner menu available–just take a look at their web page.
With the buffet plus drink (non-alcoholic), tax and tip your lunch bill can run about $20 per person which is a bit high for my budget but I will still go a couple of times a month!

Flashback Diner–restaurant review–Hollywood, Florida   Leave a comment

 Flashback Diner Nov 30 2017

On the way to the theatre in Miami Anthony suggested the Flashback Diner on Federal so off we went.

The contradiction of being called Flashback and having a TV, with individual remote, on each table instead of the jukebox, a mainstay of yesterday’s Diner sort of struck me funny but then the thought of people at each table turning their TV on with different levels of sound cut the ‘funny’ off, not to mention the TV on the wall across from us.

Anthony had the ‘Robert Donat”, another name for the Monte Cristo ($14.95) and I had the Rita Hayworth, a turkey sandwich–I certainly didn’t think Rita was a turkey but that’s another story–$12.95. He had an iced tea–without ice (don’t ask) $2.75 and I had a diet cola ($2.95–cola costs more than tea????)

When we walked in my eyes lit up because I would kill for carrot cake and there was a huge one calling my name. I ordered a slice and was disappointed, not in the taste as it was very good but in the lack of thickness in the slice. ($6.95) Come on I had a diet cola so I could have a thick slice of the good carrot cake which is always served in Diners, flashback or not, and which Diners are, yesterday or today, known for such as Lester’s and Peter Pan’s.

The sandwiches and service were just okay and as good as the carrot cake was I wish it had been a bigger slice so I really could have had a taste instead of a hint.

The check with tax and tip came to $53–definitely not a ‘flashback’ to Diners of yesterday. :O)

Posted December 24, 2017 by greatmartin in DINING REVIEW, FLORIDA, FOOD, Uncategorized

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